Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across the world are increasingly feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The women-owned businesses that participate in the International Trade Centre's (ITC) SheTrades Initative are no exception. Most, in fact, have been forced to close their doors and find their own ways of coping, not only to keep themselves and their businesses going, but also their communities.
To help women-owned businesses get through this challenging period and prepare them for post-COVID-19, the SheTrades team is currently ramping up and strengthening the initiative's online products. This includes rolling out new content and modules on the SheTrades.com platform, including workshops on its virtual learning space, webinars, publications, success stories, and videos.
Through the SheTrades virtual learning space, members of the initiative can access free, high-quality modules developed by ITC experts and partners, and earn badges upon completing the courses. There are currently 25 modules available in English and Spanish on topics such as export-readiness and logistics, with many additional modules to be launched shortly.
Beneficiaries will also be able access a range of webinars covering e-commerce, access to finance, IT, and other relevant topics. SheTrades Invest and the EQUALS Leadership Coalition are currently running a webinar entitled 'Access to Finance for Women in the Technology Sector', which aims to help meet the needs of investors and secure investment leads.
In partnership with companies Maersk, UPS, UPS Foundation, VISA and Working Capital Associates, ITC has launched a webinar series to help women-owned businesses navigate and tackle the repercussions of the pandemic, including crisis management and finance. To register and attend the webinars, please visit SheTrades.com and refer to ITC's recent web story to learn more.
In response to the impact caused by coronavirus, ITC kicks off a pilot coaching programme together with Twill by MAERSK. It will help women-owned MSMEs scale up their businesses to take maximum advantage of the benefits of international trade.
Twill employees will assume coaching roles and connect with selected women entrepreneurs in Kenya and Nigeria, who will benefit from one-on-one advice and meetings to guide them through their export journey. Coaches receive 'Ambassador' status in the SheTrades learning platform as a stamp of verification from ITC. The ultimate goal is to scale up the project through virtual means and enable the subjects in different countries to become coaches for other women entrepreneurs.
While many SheTrades activities are now moving online, action on the ground continues but is being adapted to the current situation. In the Gambia, for example, a financial support package provides women entrepreneurs with greater financial stability and bridge revenue shortages during COVID-19. The grant scheme allows women entrepreneurs, who are part of the SheTrades Gambia business expansion programme, to access funding of up to $5,000 to purchase materials - without the need for collateral or repayment. In Zambia, to support the urgent need for telecommuting among the teams and women-owned businesses, SheTrades and partners are making Mifi (mobile Wifi) available for free.
To learn more and stay updated on the activities of the SheTrades Initiative and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit and register on SheTrades.com.
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